Sunday 12 December 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 7

27 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 7

13th French army attack 2nd Spanish army at Malagon for second day

French have one day’s supply, by nightfall they will have run out

10 guerrilla attack and destroy routing 13 French brigade

7 guerrilla retreat when 26 French cavalry retake La Roda


14th French army prepare to attack Cuidad Real

27 and 28 cavalry brigades ordered to return to corps


15th French army reorganise

12 guerrilla attack Pozo, routed with 20% casualties

Battle of Malagon end of move 8

Day two started with both armies redeployed, but carrying all battle casualties from day one.


The French were weak in cavalry, with only one brigade present and with 20% casualties.  

They were also outnumbered in infantry.

Their only advantage was artillery.   Both sides had two batteries, but the Spanish gunners were all C class.

The French concentrated their artillery, cavalry brigade and one elite infantry brigade under the command of the CinC

This left the two corps with only three infantry brigades each, and consequently outnumbered by either Spanish corps

The main attack was on the French left, supported by the reserve.

The artillery was less than effective, and played little part in the battle.

The Spanish fought much better than might be expected.

Their left moved forward and engaged the Polish corps, who were using the woods for cover

This battle went on for most of the day, and ended in a draw


Despite a determined attack, the French made little progress on their left

They forced the Spanish to withdraw, but failed to destroy them

They managed to take the southern half of the town, but the Spanish held the northern half


At nightfall both sides had suffered similar casualties.

But the Spanish still held half of the town

And the French had failed to either take the town or destroy the Spanish army


The battle was declared a Spanish victory


Outnumbered in infantry and cavalry, the French commander had few options.

He opted to create a very strong reserve of artillery supported by infantry and the weak cavalry

The Polish corps was ordered to hold the woods on the right, and pin the Spanish corps opposite

The French corps would attack on the left, supported by the reserve.


The success of the attack would largely depend on the French artillery.

They would need to weaken the Spanish infantry, who would then be attacked by the French infantry

Unfortunately they failed to do so.  In fact they only achieved two hits throughout the entire battle.


The Spanish once more fought much harder than expected.

The garrison of the southern half of the town were militia, and started the battle with 20% casualties

Yet they held the town until move eleven of twelve.


On the opposite flank they attacked the much weaker Polish corps

The Poles were using the woods as cover from the Spanish cavalry and artillery

So the Spanish infantry had to attack a strong defensive position

They used their superiority in infantry brigades to bring at least two Spanish against each Polish brigade

This worked well, and at the end of the battle two of the three Polish infantry brigades were in rout

However the third brigade continued to hold one of the four sections of the woods.


I was the French commander once more.   As always timing was critical in this game.

There are twelve moves before nightfall, and both armies were fully deployed and in close contact.

In just two moves the French artillery were within range of the Spanish infantry

Normally four moves would be sufficient to inflict casualties on the Spanish infantry

The French infantry would then have six moves to close to contact and crush the Spanish.


However the artillery failure to inflict any casualties at all made an infantry attack risky

So the artillery were allowed an extra two moves to fire on the Spanish

The result was only two hits, and both Spanish brigades passed their morale tests

The delay also meant that the French would be limited to one attack only before nightfall


The battle on this flank was decided by a single infantry combat

One French brigade in column moved into contact with one Spanish brigade in line

Normally the French should have won, but not this time

The Spanish brigade was the best of a bad bunch, with B class infantry

The French brigade was the worse of their corps, with C class infantry

The Spanish infantry won – the French brigade routed.


Strange that no matter how carefully you plan the attack, it often goes wrong at the critical time

In this case great care was taken to put the best French brigades at the head of the attack column.

However the elite brigade suffered two hits, reducing them to the weakest brigade

The next best brigade was in the wrong place at the critical time

The attack fell on the weakest brigade, who had been sent to outflank the Spanish


Despite losing the game, I found this a very interesting and enjoyable experience.

In the heat of the moment I had forgotten that I was using my weakest brigade, until it was too late

But it would not have made any difference, it was attack with them or not attack at all

And as it happened on move 12, time had simply run out.


There are two more battles to decide the outcome of this campaign.

But this defeat is not a good omen for the French.


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    It is interesting to re-read the previous battle reports before this one … and I came away with the feeling that the Spanish have done better than I would have predicted, and now stand on the verge of winning g this campaign.

    It also seems to have given both of you a lot of enjoyment … and that is a big plus!

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comment

    It is largely because Jan is learning to counter my previous tactics, which is no doubt what happened during the Napoleonic period. In the early campaigns Napoleon took advantage of the "old fashioned" strategy and tactics of his enemy. In the later campaigns his opponents learned from their mistakes and it became increasingly difficult for Napoleon to achieve such crushing victories.

    Not that I would compare myself to Napoleon, but it does seem that history is repeating itself




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